Denial, King Herod and the Magi

I promise you my blog won’t become baby obsessed but obviously baby stuff is what is on my mind at the moment. Over this last month as baby’s kicks and pokes have been getting strong I have found myself amazed a bewildered by the thought of those ladies who go into labour and say that they had no clue that they were even pregnant! I know I am not an expert in any way, but in my limited experience I find myself sceptical and find their claims hard to believe – even if they didn’t know they were pregnant surely they knew something wasn’t right? Being kicked in the bladder they must have dismissed as some mad bowel movements or a strange parasite? Again I am no expert so I can quite happily and probably very easily be proved wrong but I really find it hard to believe. I find myself wondering if they are just in deep denial of what is happening to them.

Denial is not uncommon in most of our lives. With increased financial problems and stresses the ostrich syndrome is a refuge for many of us. Even when it comes to God many people are in denial – it is safer and more convenient to ‘believe’ that he doesn’t exist. God Himself is not surprised by this strategy:

Romans 1:18-21 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.

Even with all the evidence of creation many people choose to live as if there is no God. As we approach Christmas time we also see in the nativity story how even with the birth of the Son of God some folks were in denial.

Matthew 2:12-16 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route. 13 When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.” 14 So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, 15 where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.” 16 When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi.

Herod – who was from a Jewish background should have been expecting the Messiah, yet his first response when the Magi came looking for the new King at the Palace was anger. Herod set out to kill the only one who could save him. Jesus was a threat to his power and position – for Herod a saviour was inconvenient so he denied him and refused to bow his knee. As I look around at the hustle and bustle of Christmas I see many people merrily denying Jesus. It would be too inconvenient to admit He is alive, to bow the knee. We don’t like to give up our power and throne to anyone else.

I pray that this Christmas I would not deny the place of Jesus as King. Help me Lord to bow my knee to you, even when it is inconvenient for me.

Beholding Glory

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